Vogelsong recovering, ready for another comeback

Righty back with Bucs after surgery following facial fractures

Vogelsong recovering, ready for another comeback

PITTSBURGH -- By the time it's all over, this could be just another comeback in a career full of them. That's the way Ryan Vogelsong sees it, anyway.

The right-hander has been back in the Pirates' clubhouse at PNC Park the last two days, happy to be reunited with his teammates -- and determined, as ever, to get back on the mound.

"There's a little bit of disbelief, but if you know anything about what I've been through, at the end of the day, it doesn't really surprise me," said Vogelsong, sporting bruises, swelling and a splint on his nose after undergoing surgery last Thursday to repair three facial fractures sustained when he was hit in the left eye by a 92-mph fastball on May 23. "Just another obstacle that I'm going to get over and add to the story, the legend.

"My friends keep saying, 'It's just another chapter.' I say, 'I don't mind chapters. I just wish they weren't so painful.' We're going to be good, man. I've got no doubt about it."

Vogelsong recalls everything that took place that afternoon, but he didn't see the ball coming until it was too late. His greatest concern -- that his vision would be impaired -- has been allayed, as his sight has gradually improved.

Ryan Vogelsong in attendance

"I knew my son [Ryder] was in the playroom and my wife [Nicole] and her family were in the stands," Vogelsong said. "I remember telling myself, 'You've got to get up. You've got to stand up.' Especially for my son, not being able to talk to me right away, so that he knew I was OK.

"When the ball hit me, I thought my eye exploded or detached. That was my first thought. I knew the rest would be not fun, but I was going to be able to deal with it."

Vogelsong, now on the 60-day disabled list, has been cleared for light exercise, such as riding a stationary bike. Doctors will evaluate his status every week, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said. After he's physically ready to compete, he'll need a rehab assignment to rebuild his arm into pitching shape.

Broadcast discusses Vogelsong

"The fact that I get to come back to some normalcy at least and be around the guys and feel a little competitive again, that's probably helping me feel a little better, too," said Vogelsong, who will stay with the team as he recovers.

"He's an extremely driven man," Tomczyk added. "Ryan is bound and determined to get back with this team some way, somehow. That capacity is to be determined."

Not for Vogelsong. He has his mind set on pitching again this season.

The 38-year-old has bounced around the world, playing in Japan before authoring a remarkable comeback story with the Giants that led to two World Series championships. He's not done yet.

"My goal is to get back this season and get back fast this season and help this team win like I planned on from the start," Vogelsong said. "No question about it."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.